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Archive for September, 2009

candace-small2Candace Jordan, NBC Chicago Street Team

Mercedes Benz Fashion Week in NY was so exciting last week!  It seemed like everywhere you looked you saw a familiar NY Housewives LuAnn de Lesseps (the Countess) and Kelly Bensimonface!  At the Pamella Roland show we saw Lisa Rinna in a hot red dress with a great haircut, Nicky Hilton who didn’t want to sit next to anyone who wasn’t famous, Nigel Barker (the hot judge/photographer on America’s Next Top Model) and the quirky runway coach from ANTM J. Alexander.  I was told Toni Braxton, Amanda Bynes and Paris Hilton were there (I didn’t see them) and that Courtney Love showed up for the Narciso Rodriguez show in a very sorry state.  Also at the Roland show were the NY Housewives With supermodel Ubah HassanBethany Frankel, the Countess (LuAnn de Lesseps) and Kelly Bensimon.

Earlier in the day, I had been invited by my new friend, Alex McCord (another of the NY Housewives) to a great show by her friend Walter Baker.  He had supermodel, Ubah Hassan, open his show and she was AMAZING!

This same Pamella Roland Show will be brought to Chicago Friday Nicky Hilton night for the Joffrey Ballet’s Couture & Cocktails and tickets are still available!  We will have Giuliana and Bill Rancic doing some hosting duties as well as many other surprises!  Come dance with the Joffrey dancers to the sounds of international jet set (and gorgeous) DJ, Donna D’Cruz!  Tickets are $250 for a Patron tickets and $500 for a VIP ticket (which includes runway seating, awesome goody bag, butler service and admission to the celeb filled VIP pre-party in Lockwood Restaurant starting at 6:30 PM!  If you can’t come early, don’t miss the After-Party from 9- Midnight –tickets are $250.  Hope to see you there!!  (312) 386-8921 http://www.joffrey.orgLisa RinnaNigel Barker from America’s Next Top Model

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At last night’s televised portion of the Emmys, Ricky Gervais made the hilariously irreverent confession: “This is the greatest awards ceremony in the world, there’s no doubt about that. Definitely, definitely no doubt about that. The thing about the Oscars and the Golden Globes is they’ve got film stars there, with their jawlines and chiseled looks, making me feel bad. But in this room – I’m not being funny – I’m probably above average. Here, Steve Carell is considered handsome.”

Much the same logic could be used to describe what is usually wrong with the women’s fashion at the Emmys. Since the  Emmys lack the star power, prestige  and, most importantly, the audience of the Golden Globes and The Oscars, it’s rare that actresses bring their A fashion game because it is even rarer that  the top design houses  loan out their A rate dresses. This means that if an actress is not careful, in that room–I’m not being funny–the Housewives of Atlanta would rate above average.

And so it was last nite.  Jennifer Carpenter, Kara DioGuardi, Sandra Oh, Holly Hunter, Sigourney Weaver, Drew Barrymore and Christina Applegate brought it. That’s because they would look spot on even at a more prestigious event.

On the other hand, stars like Vanessa Williams, Debra Messing, Marcia Gay Harden,  Julia Louis Dreyfus, Jessica Lange and Glenn Close didn’t. That’s because they looked like “make under” versions of the OC housewives. Their dresses, and most of the dresses period, were so safe and boring that you could easily find them hanging on the rack of a high end department store.

Tina Fey and Toni Colette have always been two outsize talents who have been in desperate need of a good stylist. Ms Fey, it seems, finally found one. Ms Colette, it seems, found the Rachel Zoe School for the Newly Emaciated and Fakebaked.  January Jones, Kristin Chenoweth (a very deserving winner for “Pushing Daisies”)  and Leighton Meester used overzealous stylists. Kim Kardashian used an overzealous pimp.

And then there was the worst offender of the evening, Heidi Klum, with her TMI maternity frock. Good god, the only way for her to have been  more inappropriately dressed was to have  arrived in a hospital gown with Seal telegraphing the number of centimeters she was dilated.

The best dressed men were  Tracy Morgan (surprisingly so), Steve Carell (reliably so), Ricky Gervais (eclectically so), Justin Timberlake (youthfully so), and Simon Baker (hot damn so). Jon Cryer was by far the worst dressed, perhaps because he dressed as his character on “Two and a Half Men.”

For a photo gallery and a slightly different perspective than the one expressed here, click here.

TheBestDressedList.com

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Eric Smith, NBC Chicago Street Team

On location at the Studio L’amour, West Loop. There is nothing better than an original, and Michelle L’amour is just that-dancer, choreographer, business woman, teacher, promoter and most of all Queen of Tease!

How did you become Michelle L’Amour?
My background training was in Classical Dance. But I didn’t get a chance to do Burlesque until after college when I was asked to choreograph and perform a Burlesque show. I didn’t really know what it was at the time but I said yes because I wanted to dance and perform. Then I heard the music and was completely hooked and knew that this is what I was meant to be doing.

So when you say you heard the music can you elaborate on that?
The music is the classic dirty jazz, bump and grind style music…it’s really great…great drums, horns…

Michelle L'amour

Michelle L'amour

What makes you different than most women in and outside of the business?
Well, one of my goals was to draw attention to the Chicago Burlesque scene and what I was doing here. I really wanted to pull attention to this city because I love this city and I think it’s great and deserves the attention. My first step in doing that was winning the Ms. Exotic World title in 2005, which is like the World Series of Burlesque. And then I did America’s Got Talent the first season so that definitely drew attention here. But I had also been teaching, because this was one of my goals, to educate the people in the city about Burlesque what it was and what it can be today. I’ve been teaching Burlesque for about 4 years now and have since opened my own dance school Studio L’Amour which has been open for about a year.

For those of us who don’t know can you describe what Burlesque is?
Burlesque is all about the tease. Exaggerating your femininity, showcasing the curves and really playing up the fact that you are a woman.

So would you define what you do more as art or entertainment?
I think art can be entertainment. And I think I do both.

How did you take something like this(Burlesque) and do it in Chicago visa vis New York or LA?
I really think that teaching women helped break the ice a bit. If you can get women on your side you are in good shape, we are harder to please. Women learn in class what it takes to do Burlesque, that it is not as easy as it looks and it is my job to make it look easy. So when they come to class using muscles they didn’t know they had, and let things jiggle that they didn’t think they were supposed to let jiggle one gains a large amount of appreciation for the art form. It’s something fun you can bring your boyfriend to-it brings sexuality in a great light.

Well enough read…to hear the entire interview click to download now.

Stay tuned for upcoming events at Studio L’Amour including:

StripTease Classes/Dr. Sketchys-Figure Drawing Class/LipShtick

Naked Girls Reading/Sex Body Fashion Show/The Tassel and Twirl Workshop

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Paul M. Banks a.k.a. The Sports Bank, NBC Chicago Street Team

On Wednesday at the United Center, in conjunction with LifeSource, Chicagoland’s Blood Center, the Blackhawks organization held a very successful blood and bone marrow drive. The turnout was good, especially when considering the fact it was held on a workday morning. Lifesource officials said over the phone that 94 new units of blood were donated, with 47 new people entered into the bone marrow registry. A volunteer on-site told me that about half were donating for the first time.

Those who donated also got to take in a Blackhawks practice at the United Center; with training camp running concurrently with the drive. The need for blood and bone marrow is a cause that hits close to home with Blackhawks General Manage Stan Bowman.
“My wife Sue and I feel that it’s our responsibility to educate others on the ease of joining the National Bone Marrow Registry and donating blood,” the Hawks GM said. Bowman was first diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma in February 2007 at the age of 33 before having a reoccurrence of the disease 10 months later. He underwent a stem-cell transplant, which required doctors to take blood from his bone marrow and separate the cells, before replenishing the blood. Since that treatment, Bowman has been cancer free.

blackhawks

“I realize how fragile life is and am fortunate to be in remission, but I certainly don’t take it for granted,” Bowman added. “There are a great deal of people fighting cancer and other illnesses each day that so desperately need a bone marrow transplant or blood transfusion. I would like to encourage our passionate and supportive Blackhawks fans to participate in this great event,” Bowman stated before the drive. He was also on hand for the event, and his wife donated blood. Towards the end of the drive, he appeared on the UC Jumbotron to thank those attended.

This reporter registered to donate, but was rejected due to a prior condition. Bowman and I share more than just a keen interest in hockey. Like Stan, I have fought and conquered Hodgkin’s disease- twice. And in a remarkable instance of coincidence, I received my own stem cell transplant, 6 years to the exact date of Bowman’s. Since 2003 I have been in remission, and living a life healthy enough that I was even able to swim in the Triathlon last month. I wholeheartedly agree with Bowman’s statements and I am very pleased his organization held this event.

For more information, or to give blood and/or bone marrow in the future please visit lifesource.org or click here.

See more of Paul M. Banks’ work at The Sports Bank, Washington Times, Walter Football.com

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Desiree, NBC Chicago Street Team
Listen up all you recessionistas and recessionistos: Pipeline B2B announces its Fourth Quarter Launch Event! On October 1, 2009 from 6PM – 8PM, small businesses, entrepreneurs, freelancers and contractors are invited to the swank Three Peas Art Lounge in Chicago’s South Loop. The fun networking event, which will include like-minded and talented peers with diverse backgrounds, is intended to accelerate business opportunities through meaningful exchange.422011247

So come on out and get motivated with your 2009 goals! The event includes targeted strategic partners and leads, as well as Pipeline B2B’s Founders, Patrick Smith and Barbara Maldonado. Their network-savvy career experiences and social media practices have helped them jumpstart their own successful projects, inspiring the evening’s event. “At the end of the day,” Barbara says, “It’s about making a deal.”

Tickets, which include beverages and appetizers, are only $30, with proceeds of the evening’s event benefiting the non-profit, Jobs for Youth. Please RSVP ahead of time, and log on to the Three Peas Art Lounge website for a taste of the venue. What better place to learn how to turn your goals into success, than in a gallery created by emerging artists “on the cusp” of a successful career themselves? See you there!

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Hungry Z, NBC5 Street Team

In West Virginia, at an elevation of 2300 feet above sea level, the Birch River begins its northwestern trek until it joins with the Elk River. Luckily Birch River Grill is located in Arlington Heights and is devoid of such Mountaineer delicacies as ground hog and squirrel. The décor employs plenty of birch wood and the busts of a few bucks to appease your inner hunter.

 Tempting choices abound all over the menu; luckily a good choice is easier than catching it yourself. Simple is often better, and a good simple appetizer to try is the crisp salt and pepper calamari. Accompanied by a horseradish marinara, these tasty rings of octopi are not the least bit chewy.birchsoup

 Sometimes you need a little something to warm your bones after kayaking down the river. Nestle up to a bowl of granny apple and onion soup. This twist on an old favorite adds a hint of sweetness to all the savory goodness that French onion soup already delivers. Those looking for something heartier should step up to a bowl of wild game chili. Loaded with bison, wild boar, and andouille sausage this is a chili for the man’s man.

 What goes better with all that meat, than more meat? The Yankee pot roast is loaded with slow cooked beef, braised carrots, Yukon gold potatoes, all swimming in a hearty red wine sauce. It’s like a warm hug on a cold West Virginian night. For those looking on the lighter side, the sun dried tomato and gorgonzola ravioli is a wise choice. Gone is the heavy marinara and in is a light tomato tarragon broth that adds flavor and not calories.birchcarrot

 The heck with calories! You’ve spent all day fishing, kayaking, and hunting so you deserve some dessert. Wild berry cheesecake is rich and filling, but the true star is Aunt Aggie’s carrot cake. Assembled like a Big Mac, this three layer beauty has cream cheese frosting between 3 layers of moist cake. It’s meant for two but I’m sure a few hearty soles will tackle it alone.

 With entrée prices ranging from $10 to $30, Birch River Grill can satisfy one’s hunger even on modest budgets. So whether you’re hunting for a buck or just looking for a good meal for you buck, Birch River has you covered.  

Location

75 W. Algonquin Rd

Arlington Heights, IL

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Natalia “Bat Girl” Avilez, NBC Chicago Street Team

If you were one of the many comic book fans who either missed out on, were disappointed in, or simply crave more Comic-Con; this is your chance.  On Saturday, September 19th, Chicagoans  are getting a second chance to indulge in Chicago’s finest Comic Book Convention — the Windy City Comicon(WCC) . Now in its second year in the running, Windy City has lined up a fantastic array of local comic book creators, artists, writers, and publishing companies for your viewing pleasure. But wait there’s more! Not only will you be able to  meet industry guests  but will also get a chance to  get great deals on comics, attend  panels, indulge in games and receive a gift pack.

“It’s organized by Chicagoans and many of the 85 creator guests are either hometown products or now call Chicago home,” co-promoter Christopher Neseman said.

Guests include  artists Jenny FrisonTim Seeley, Skottie Young,  Mike Norton and Sal Abbinanti. Publishing companies include: Moonstone, Olympian, Topshelf and Shortpants

“Chicago has one of the richest and most vibrant comic book communities in the country, and Windy City Comicon is a showcase of that,” Neseman said.

Challengers, Comics + Converstationwill be kicking off the event with the official Windy City Comicon preview party on Friday night at 7:00 p.m.  Tickets for the show are $10 and can be purchased either at the door or on the WWC site. The Convention will be held at the Center on Halsted, 3656 N. Halsted, between the hours of 10 a.m.-6 p.m. WCC is offering the first 500 guests a gift pack, so be sure to arrive early.

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